Journey through the three South Africa’s: The birth – where it all started, Apartheid South Africa – a dark time of oppression, and, the New South Africa – what has changed since Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. The tour provides the extraordinary chance to connect, mingle and share cultural principles with the local community. Visit Bo-Kaap Malay Quarter. Drive through District Six and then to Langa, the oldest black township. Tour continues to Khayelitsha, the largest black township in Cape Town. Here we visit the Philanni Empowerment Centre, visit to a shack to experience the living conditions and a drive through middle-class Khayelitsha to experience some of the recent achievements such as new house developments.
Leave from Cape Town Central
This fun and informative tour can be taken on either a morning or an afternoon. For the morning tour we will depart at around 09h30 and for the afternoon we will leave at around 14h00. We will leave from a central point in Cape Town; which is often named as one of the best holiday destinations in the world. Cape Town’s awesome weather, incredible scenery and friendly people make any visit unforgettable.
The City Bowl lies in a natural amphitheatre created by Table Mountain, Lions Head, Signal hill and Devils’ Peak. The vibrant city centre is still a focus of business, culture and tourism. For many centuries Cape Town has provided a sanctuary for passing ships and the city still handles much marine traffic. Passing ships and settlers have made Cape Town home to unique cultures and people.
Through the Apartheid years many people were forced to live in certain areas due to their racial profile. This has led to these areas having a distinctive culture and feel within Cape Town. It is these dynamic areas that we will explore on a fascinating half day tour.
Visit the Bo-Kaap Malay Quater
Our tour starts off with a visit to the Bo-Kaap Malay Quarter where we share its history with the arrival of the Dutch in 1652. The Bo-Kaap has been closely associated with Cape Town’s Muslim Community and is one of the city’s oldest areas. The multicultural community has had a long and colourful history through the years and the first development in the area was begun in 1768. It occupies an enviable position in the City Bowl on the lower slopes of Signal Hill. This picturesque neighbourhood is filled with cobbled streets and multi-coloured houses.
The story of the Bo-Kaap has been intertwined with South Africa’s troubled politics. The first mosque in the Cape was built here at the bequest of Saartjie van de Kaap, a freed slave woman, and is still in use, although much altered, today. During the Apartheid years it became an exclusive residential area for Cape Muslims and all other religions and races were forced to relocate to other areas. It became one of very few working class neighbourhoods in South Africa that was still close to the city centre.
Throughout its long history the Bo-Kaap has left an indelible mark on this city. Your knowledgeable tour guide will uncover this fascinating history and make the story of the people of Bo-Kaap come alive. A 1o minute walking tour will be given for time to take pictures.
Drive through District Six
Tour continues with a drive through District Six, sharing its history where 60,000 people were uprooted when apartheid became a law.
Tour then continues to Langa, the oldest black township 1950 – 1990, the biblical 40 years. The Urban Areas Act of 1923 was the first step in formalising the racial separation of the people of South Africa. It forced African’s to live in segregated areas away from cities and suburbs. This was the birth of Langa, South Africa’s oldest township. Langa was planned for maximum visibility of the residents, and maximum control. Gatherings were not allowed by the police and alcohol was regulated up until 1930. This led to the growth of many illegal distilleries and bars (shebeens) being operated out of houses.
With many rural immigrants looking for a better life in the city, Langa became a hotbed of culture and fashion. It also played a prominent role as a part of the anti-Apartheid struggle. On 21 March 1960, the same day as the Sharpeville Massacre, several people were killed during an anti-pass rally. Although Langa translates as “sun” in Xhosa it was actually named in honour of Chief Langalibalele, who was imprisoned on Robben Island in 1873 for rebelling against the Natal government. Many people campaigned for his release and he was eventually moved to a farm called “Uitvlugt”. This was farm was adjacent to the present day Langa, and was the source of its name.
A drive through Langa with commentary on its history, sharing how people have improved their homes ever since they were offered ownership compared to what it used to look like during the years of apartheid. A stop at the dompass office and share beacons relating to the 1976 student unrest and the living conditions inside the barracks.
We then close the curtains on the negatives and share with them the positives and transformations in Langa ever since Nelson Mandela’s release when he convinced us to forgive and start the re-build of the new South Africa.
Life in South Africa’s townships can be tough and demanding but the irrepressible spirit of its people exudes through their houses, vehicles and culture. Khayelitsha (“New Home” in Xhosa) is South Africa’s youngest and largest township and is another legacy of the countries racial segregation policies. Throughout the 20th century there was a steady influx of rural immigrants to Cape Town and by the early 1980’s conditions in several illegal townships were dreadful. The decision was made by the Apartheid government to create new, formal, townships and forcefully relocate people into them. Khayelitsha is the result of this process.
In the years since Apartheid ended, Khayelitsha has benefited from improved formal infrastructure although; the entrepreneurial spirit of the people is still in full force. You can still find shipping container shops alongside more formal buildings. Although the township still suffers from poverty and unemployment the people are friendly and inviting and you will find many craftsman, artists and musicians just waiting to make you smile. Exploring Khayalitsha is always a surprising and rewarding experience.
Meet the incredible women of the Philani Development Centre
Our next stop is at the Philani Development Centre, an island of green among the dense township housing. The centre’s current site was opened in 1995 to help woman and children in at risk communities. They now offer education and training to women, income-generating projects, pre-schools, an outreach and home-based nutrition and child health programme, a mothers-to-be programme, an orphan and vulnerable children programme and a dental project, as well as a care and support programme for HIV positive mothers and children. Philani has received much international recognition for its’ good works.
While here you can interact with the women who are empowered to earn an income through the Philani Weaving and Craft Projects. You can also spend some time with the teachers and kids at the preschool at the centre. You will hear true stories and struggles of the people who have been most affected by the troubling legacy of Apartheid.
Our final activity on this tour is a short walking tour of shanty town. A local guide will lead you on a fascinating journey through the township including a visit to their shack to experience their real living conditions. They will give you insights into the lives and struggles faced by the people of South Africa. While there is much hardship, there is also laughter, warmth and the pursuit of a better life.
Return to Cape Town
At the end of the tour, after an incredible journey into Cape Town’s past and future, we head back to the city centre. This short tour will leave you with great memories for a lifetime.
Mon - Fri ±09h00/±13h30
Sat/Sun & Public Holidays ±09h00
Subject to minimum 2 guests
The Sunday morning tour includes a visit to a church service in Langa
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